[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 132, Issue 11

Jonathan Schroeder jesgla at rit.edu
Sun Dec 20 07:07:54 AEDT 2015


Congratulations on turning in your thesis, and thanks for sharing this with us.
________________________________________
From: empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au <empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au> on behalf of Karen Ann Donnachie <karen at thisisamagazine.com>
Sent: Saturday, December 19, 2015 1:27 AM
To: empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 132, Issue 11

----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
Hi all,
oh dear, is that it?

I have just tuned in to this discussion—shame I missed it from the start—my disattention due to submitting my PhD thesis “The Human Use of the Human Face: The Photographic Self-Portrait in the Age of the Selfie” as you can tell from the title my PhD research is precisely on the selfie.

My practice-led thesis has brought me to look at the selfie from a number of perspectives—authenticity (both technological and existential), formal characteristics (tropes, facial close-ups, extended arm, mirror and immediate broadcast), identity play, celebrity/micro-celebrity and narcissism, potential (mis)use as object of big-data, human connectedness, and how the selfie, as object and as action is affecting our notions of the photographic self-portrait as genre of art practice and cultural artefact.

I have recently contributed an essay  “#Me: Glimpses of Authenticity” to the book  'Ego-Update' which accompanies the NRW-Forum, Düsseldorf, exhibition on the selfie phenomenon (alongside some other super texts by Teresa Senft, Jerry Saltz, Daniel Rubinstein, Brooke Wendt and Adam Levin) and since 2013 have spoken at conferences and classes and to anyone who would listen.
My practice involves making electronic and algorithmic art around and from the selfie—such as custom designed, self-programmed ‘selfie-centric’ cameras or algorithmic lighting installations that display flesh tones from Instagram #selfie faces in real time. Some of these works were recently exhibited/performed at John Curtin Gallery as part of SoDA15.
My own dual-selfie and star- cameras form the central part of my research, and together are called Us_Others because they function at the boundary between participant, artist, and audience. For example, with the camera ‘NousAutres,’ two images are taken of two subjects facing each other on either side of a mirrored box, each holding a handle with a trigger (in extended arm). Once the triggers are pressed, the camera captures two ‘selfie' pictures simultaneously and algorithmically interweaves them, then automatically broadcasts this image to twitter.  There is no other interaction with the camera, no screen, no delete etc. Through my performance with these cameras I intend to heighten the experience of taking/sharing self-images. The work is not merely in the cameras, nor is it merely in the images posted to twitter, but in the way co-presence and performance with the cameras disrupt those activities and social media ecologies or the performance that happens between real and Internet or virtual life.

1. Regarding Joonas’ discussion of selfie close ups, formally speaking, the consistent presence of the face in the selfie can be attributed to the mechanical limitation of the camera’s focal distance (approximately an arm’s length). Yet the mere limitation of field-of-view does not explain away the overwhelming preference for creating close-ups of the face.
As Joonas suggested, more is indeed happening at the site of the #selfie face.  Arguably it is the combination of a desire to be recognised by others and the mesmerising effect of our reflection, all of which ultimately affects the framing within the visual codes of the selfie. Ken Miller describes the use of cinematic closeups, “the face as surface is the perfect complement to the photographic image as surface … in combination, we experience surfaces that promise depths, exteriorities that imply interiorities.” In cinema, the close-up momentarily distracts us from the narrative to allow us to reflect, ponder, engage with the face. Miller also discusses the notion of “visual self-inscription,” which could easily be transposed onto the act of the selfie with its “desire to view the self as a mediatised other and, in a sense, could also be thought of as a replay of the narcissistic psychic drama of alterity, in which one attempts to find the other in the self and the self in the other.” In other words, it is in composing our selfie close-ups that we objectify our selves while the close-up images (both ours and others’) lure us to distraction with the promise of complexity.

2. Regarding the notion of affect, the selfie offers us the three stages as proposed by Spinoza (affectio, affectus and affect), and further refined by Bergson and Deleuze. Seigworth’s summary serves well, as the moment of the selfie taking becomes the point (affectio) or “the affective
capacity of bodies,” the posting and sharing to/on social media becomes the line (affectus), where the passage of states and variation occurs, and finally, as the selfie image relinquishes autonomy and surrenders itself as part of an ever-expanding database it reaches the plane, a perpetual ever-expanding autonomy of affect.

Even if the discussion is over, I look forward to catching up with your research now that the thesis fog is lifting :)

best wishes,
karen ann donnachie
PhD Candidate (SoDA), Curtin University.


> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>
> Today's Topics:
>
>   1. Re: empyre Digest, Vol 132, Issue 3 (Jonathan Schroeder)
>
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 18 Dec 2015 17:16:48 +0000
> From: Jonathan Schroeder <jesgla at rit.edu>
> To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au>
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 132, Issue 3
> Message-ID: <1450459009470.26411 at rit.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
>
> Ok, it looks like the discussion has ended. Thanks to everyone who participated, and thanks to Derek Murray for inviting me to moderate.  For those who are interested, Mehita Iqani and my paper has just been published online: "#selfie: digital self-portraits as commodity form and consumption practice" http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10253866.2015.1116784
>
>
> Best wishes for the holidays.
>
> Jonathan Schroeder
> ________________________________________
> From: empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au <empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au> on behalf of Jonathan Schroeder <jesgla at rit.edu>
> Sent: Wednesday, December 16, 2015 2:48 PM
> To: soft_skinned_space
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 132, Issue 3
>
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> I think that the study of selfies offer an interesting window into how something becomes an object for scholarly attention, as we can watch a body of work emerge, including conferences, journal articles and special issues, and groups, such as the Selfies Research Network on Facebook.  What is clear is that selfies have seized the imagination of scholars as well as users. What is less clear is how scholarship and thinking about selfies will develop and 'mature'.
> ________________________________________
> From: empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au <empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au> on behalf of Kelly Norris Martin <kellynmartin at gmail.com>
> Sent: Friday, December 11, 2015 3:52 PM
> To: soft_skinned_space
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 132, Issue 3
>
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
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> End of empyre Digest, Vol 132, Issue 11
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